Living in the kingdom of God

What ideas do we have about the kingdom of God? Perhaps we imagine, or daydream, about a smooth domain, free from troubles, where everything flows like clockwork. Is this what the disciples of Jesus were told to expect when he instructed them about his kingdom?

Jesus did say that there would be a kingdom, indeed a growing one, that would spread throughout the world. And it probably is bigger today, as far as the earth is concerned, than it has been before. Yet it is obvious that the worldwide kingdom is not trouble free anywhere.

One way that Jesus instructed about his kingdom was through parables. His parables have been described in many ways, yet we can see that most of them contain features designed to shock. In his parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13, he mentions that he will not uproot evil from alongside the places where he plants his people. That is surprising, at first, although we can see how the devil would place his plants beside the ones that Jesus has planted. The devil does so to minimise the effects of the kingdom of God. The clear conclusion is that Jesus’ plans for his followers is that they serve him in circumstances where the enemy kingdom is at work.

How are we to serve Jesus in such places? According to the parable, it is by being patient with the presence of weeds and focussing on the Day of Judgement and what will happen then.

Why should we be patient? Two reasons, maybe. Sadly some of the wheat in the parable are not much different from the weeds, so how would his disciples know definitely whether such individuals are wheat or weeds? Disciples don't have the ability to read another person's heart. The other reason is that some of the weeds will become wheat. After all, there is no other place for future wheat to come from.

Why should we focus on the Day of Judgement? The answer to that is surely obvious. Then all will know who comprised the wheat and who remained weeds. After that, there will be a smooth Kingdom for the people of God. But before then, there is the Account. All will appear before the Judge to hear what his verdict is. I suspect that there will be some surprises, even shocks, when the great Parable-Teller speaks plainly.

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